Like my New Avengers review, this will be more of an overview of the series than an in-depth look at a particular story. That is not to say that will never happen (I actually already have one written up for the “Hulk of Arabia” story, but I want to talk about the series as a whole before I talk a single story.
This is one that seems to be a bit maligned in recent years. Criticisms mostly seem to center around “A RED Hulk? Have they run out of ideas?”
I mean, yeah, it’s a naked attempt at changing the flavor of an iconic character to launch a new comic series.
However, if it works, it works. Red Hulk aka General Thunderbolt Ross is an interesting take on the Hulk mythos as well as an interesting change for the General Ross character. Just because the core idea may seem a bit lazy doesn’t mean the result will have to be the same. Red Hulk was a great comic with interesting plots, a compelling lead character, and a talented stable of writers and artists who took the series from beginning to end.
Also, I like Al Ewing, his recent New Avengers series, and his new U.S Avengers continuation, but I was so bummed to figure out that team’s Red Hulk was the lazily-named General Maverick and not Thunderbolt Ross.
The funny thing about Red Hulk is that I actually stopped reading the new issues after the Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness ark about Ross, his schemes with the Intellegencia, and the whole Fall of the Hulks/World War Hulks business.
I started collecting the trades later because I do have an affinity for the character, and I actually have the whole series in single issues and collections now. I also have the Marvel Select Red Hulk figure, because hell yeah.
I didn’t read a lot of the spin-off bits from the Fall of the Hulks/World War Hulks shenanigans. I’m fine with that now. As long as I have the core series, I’m fine with what I have (watch me grab a collection of these next week).
The Red Hulk made quite an impact when he first landed in comics. He kicked the tar out of Rick Jones/A-Bomb, Thor, Namor, X-Force, Iron Man, the Defenders, and even taking the Hulk out of Bruce Banner himself. He slugged the Watcher and beat the Grandmaster to death. He even killed Abomination with a big honking gun!
The story about his rampage, the Intellegencia, and teasing about his identity left and right was a fun story. It had a lot of memorable smackdowns, and the plot was very entertaining.
However, it wasn’t until Jeff Parker took over that we finally got a decent look into Red Hulk’s psyche. He was captured by the Hulk and used as an agent by Commander Steve Rogers. He dealt with the Scorched Earth protocols of the Intellegencia, a reborn MODOK, Namor, an alien-charged superman out of the Middle East, a technologically powered woman with the powers of a god, and an invasion of Mayan deities. He was joined in many of these exploits by A-Bomb and Machine Man. He would even join the Avengers later during the Heroic Age-Bendis era All the while, we get to see how his new station in life as well as his status as a Hulk are affecting the stubborn old military man.
He would later organize a Thunderbolts team of himself, the Leader, Agent Venom, the Punisher, Elektra, Deadpool, and Ghost Rider. I’m really not a big fan of this Thunderbolts series.
McGuinness of course did his thing with the Loeb material. He made buff larger-than-life characters that looked great beating the tar out of one another. Patch Zircher, Carlo Pagulayan, Gabriel Hardman, Elena Casagrande and Dale Eaglesham did much of the art after McGuinness left. They all kept the comic looking great with styles that complimented each other fairly well whenever an artist left the title.
So yeah, check this one out before you judge it. It was a great comic that did a lot of things other comics wouldn’t do. With an old, bitter, and pretty douchey protagonist, mighty threats, and great artists, Red Hulk is one of the better Marvel comics to come out of recent years. I recommend picking up the trades if you ever see them.
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